Billions of packages each year of perishable, temperature-sensitive products wind their way through North America’s supply chain and confront every customer with a nagging question: Has it been affected by freezing temperatures in transportation or storage?
Temperatures below 32° F (0° C) can impact products as diverse as fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and meat, flowers, agricultural products, ink, chemicals, solvents, paint, medical samples, vaccines, food home delivery and certain types of mail or freight.
Chromatic Technologies Inc. (CTI) has invented BlindSpotz, a new patent-pending freeze-warning technology that can be printed directly on a package. If the temperature of the package drops at or below 32° F (0° C), a permanent colored symbol appears on the exterior of the package to quickly notify the supply chain that product has been damaged.
A partnership of American Thermal Instruments (ATI) and CTI introduces freeze-warning technology that can be printed on individual packages to help protect the brand and consumer of medical supplies and foods, while saving money by lowering product waste.
The CTI capability embeds the technology into an ink system that can be incorporated into the existing printing process for packaging. Now billions of packages of lettuce, strawberries, flowers, paint and medical vaccines can be individually inspected for quality and safety.
“Freeze-sensitive prescriptions can now be sent by mail and it’s easy for patients to confirm the product hasn’t been exposed to freezing temperatures,” says Patrick Edson, CTI’s chief marketing officer. “Today, a single dose of HepB in the U.S. for a patient costs $700. If a hospital has 100 doses in a refrigerator that has a freezing incident, it is required to discard $70,000 in inventory. With the BlindSpotz on-vial freeze indicator, the doses can be quickly sorted into ‘O.K.’ and ‘FROZEN. DO NOT USE.’ If inspection finds that only 10% have been damaged, that’s a savings of $63,000,” Edson explains.
Extensive government regulations from the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture require cold-chain monitoring on any food and drug product affected by temperature. The ability to now record data and inspect at the package level is an economical, dramatic improvement in monitoring and reporting.Additional BlindSpotz technology for devices and on-pack printing is available to alert in event of thawing, warming outside of refrigeration specifications, high-heat damage, tampering and verification of high-pressure pasteurization (HPP).